AMES, Iowa – As the 2018 growing season comes to a close, fruit and vegetable growers across Iowa are turning their thoughts to next year, asking themselves what they can do to improve their production techniques or to minimize the impact of pests.
Many of these questions are answered by Joe Hannan, commercial horticulture specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, in his 2018 Season Wrap-up. The article appears in the November issue of the Small Farm Sustainability newsletter.
Hannan addresses frequently asked questions he received from growers this year, covering everything from insect pests to complying with the Food Safety Modernization Act.
“As this growing season comes to a close, I wanted to share a few of the questions, problems, concerns and trends that I saw during 2018,” Hannan said. “Rather than waiting until next year to address these issues, it seemed easier to talk about them while they were fresh in our minds.”
The article discusses dealing with insect pests spotted winged drosophila, Japanese beetle and spider mites, as well as preventing downy mildew on pumpkins.
Instructions for complying with FSMA are also included, highlighting information on inspections for farms that must be fully compliant with the law. Inspections begin in 2019.
“The FDA stresses educate before you regulate,” Hannan said. “Inspectors are able to provide technical assistance and suggestions for dealing with issues on your farm. They are empowered to work with owners to address the issue immediately and talk about methods for preventing the problem in the future.”
ISU Extension and Outreach offers Produce Safety Alliance classes that discuss the details of FSMA compliance. Training sessions are offered throughout the state, with dates currently scheduled from November to March. More information on the training sessions can be found on Iowa State's Safe Produce website.
The November issue of Small Farms Sustainability newsletter also includes information on interpreting soil reports, watering horses during the winter, holiday ideas for a conservationist, cover crop grazing tours and making farm management decisions.
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